Marites Chan can’t help but feel a hint of sadness whenever she recalls the day she first came to Mt. Apo National High School.
It was in 2015 when she was transferred from Binugao National High School in Barangay Binugao, Davao City to become teacher-in-charge at her current school, about 15 kilometers or a 30-minute ride away.
The educator had to trade her view of the sea in Binugao for the mountains in Sibulan, which is where Mt. Apo National High School is located.
Marites wasn’t bothered by the distance. However, she admitted that what greeted her on her first day made her heart sink.
“There was nothing there. No chairs, no classrooms, no water, no electricity. Nothing,” she recounted.
Around 50 students from the indigenous Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe used to hold classes inside makeshift classrooms made of wood and other light materials, which were either too open and rickety or too dark and cramped, making it hard for them to learn.
Marites could have asked for a reassignment, but she knew she was put there for a reason. She realized that she can become a catalyst of change, an instrument that can help the youth become the best version of themselves.
While melancholy still grips her every time she remembers that fateful day three years ago, she is overwhelmed with joy as she looks toward better things ahead.
AboitizPower subsidiary Hedcor, in partnership with the Aboitiz Foundation and the Davao City government, donated to Mt. Apo National High School earlier this year two well-lit and well-ventilated classrooms, fully-furnished with armchairs, teacher’s tables, blackboards, ceiling fans, and comfort rooms.
“I believe that these new classrooms will inspire everyone, both faculty and students, to continue making a difference in this community and beyond. We are truly grateful to Hedcor and the Davao City government for this blessing,” Marites said.
The donation is part of Hedcor’s initiatives to support the Department of Education in bringing quality learning to indigenous peoples.
“These facilities will encourage our students to attend and stay in school so that they can develop their competencies, eventually creating progress not only for themselves, but for their families and communities as well. I believe that the youth is still our hope. They deserve this,” added Marites.
Mt. Apo National High School is located in Barangay Sibulan City-side, Davao City, an adjacent host community of Hedcor’s 56.1-megawatt Sibulan-Tudaya cascading hydropower plants. (PR)